“WE are devastated for the women of Redditch and Bromsgrove.”
– That was the verdict of one of the midwives last Thursday night at the rally organised by the Save the Alex Campaign to mark the closure of the hospital’s maternity unit – possibly for ever.
Her comments came at the culmination of an emotional day long protest outside the hospital that saw thousands of people turn up and show their support for the beleaguered unit.
At 6pm some 200 protesters had marched from the Woodrow Drive entrance to the front of the hospital to be met by midwives waving from an upstairs window a final goodbye to the crowd of gathered supporters, galvanised by the indefatigable Neal Stote of the Save the Alex Campaign.
Speaking through a loudhailer on the closure of maternity by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust (WAHT), he said: “They were wrong to do it, our commissioners say they were wrong to do it and we are calling on all our elected representatives to do something about it as this will have a knock on effect on our A&E and paediatrics departments.
“My children were born here and from a Save the Alex point of view, the fight continues.”
After thanking the crowd he called for three cheers for the nurses which was met by a further three cheers from the staff themselves for Save the Alex Campaign.
One midwife, gagged under contract from speaking to the press, said: “We are all devastated, we have said goodbye to a really good, high quality unit.
Our matron Linn Ward and Margaret Stewart have been absolutely tremendous and we are devastated for the women of Redditch and Bromsgrove.”
One young mum, Amy Clayton, of Abbeydale said: “The maternity unit is an important part of the community. I’ve got two children, one of whom was born here – and I was born here too.”
Also among the crowd was Councillor Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch borough council, who said: “It’s a cold November night, the bonfires on on there are a lot of other attractions taking place and yet more than 200 people have come out to show their support for the Alex. We as a council will do what we can to bring it back.”
Deputy Mayor Coun Joe Baker added: “As an ex-employee of the NHS I know that when they close a department temporarily it is highly unlikely it will re-open again.
“It’s also people’s lives they are putting at risk. If there is a complication in a pregnancy vital minutes can cost lives.
“I’m here to show we care and that Bill Hartnett and the Labour group have done everything in their power to support this hospital.”